Three Ways to Be a Better CPA

Matt Shelly
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As the 2014 tax season draws nearer, many CPAs are looking for ways to offer better services. By taking the time to improve your accounting skills and stay on top of changes in tax laws, you can create a strong, sustainable business that will weather tough economic times.

For accounting professionals, it is crucial to brush up on existing accounting skills and acquire new information. New governmental regulations, loopholes, and tax breaks can make a significant difference to your clients; by understanding how to use them, you can make yourself invaluable and create long-lasting business relationships.

As a certified public accountant, you are likely to face a significant amount of competition, both online and in your city. Most CPAs offer similar services, so you must set yourself apart from your competitors. One of the easiest ways to stand out from the crowd—and become a better CPA—is to develop expertise in your clients' industries. To start, look to top industry publications, like trade magazines, journals, and books by industry leaders. Ask your clients about their professional association memberships and join one or two of the groups. Attend meetings and listen carefully, asking questions when you need clarification. By understanding the complexities of your clients' businesses and the challenges they face, you will be better able to provide tailored services. As an added bonus, you will increase your visibility and gain a reputation as a certified public accountant that is willing to go the extra mile for clients.

Chances are that you have a wealth of knowledge and accounting skills that you use to handle your clients' finances. Instead of keeping your skills to yourself, one way to be a better CPA is to share some of that information with your community. Hold workshops that are open to the public and teach subjects like preparing for taxes, managing financial files, or saving money for small businesses. Offer individualized coaching sessions to teach your clients basic accounting skills that will be useful in day-to-day business operations. In empowering your clients, you'll promote responsible accounting and make your job easier. You'll also develop better networking skills, which, according to a recent story from the Maryland Association of CPAs, are crucial to a successful career.

Many CPAs focus their marketing efforts solely on their accounting skills and accomplishments. For clients who are already intimidated by their finances, accounting language can be off-putting. To become a better, more accessible CPA, reach out to clients on more informal platforms. Create a Twitter account, make a Facebook page, and send an invitation to all of your clients. Encourage them to ask questions by tweeting or posting on your wall, where other clients can see them and contribute to the discussion. Answer the questions in the same place so that all your followers can benefit from the answers. In doing so, you can remove some of the mystery and confusion for clients and create a friendly, approachable business persona.

By developing and sharing your accounting skills, you can establish a reputation as a caring, helpful CPA. In the process, you will develop a loyal customer base that and increase word-of-mouth advertising.




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